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A Humble and Triumphant King

“Earthly kings and princes,” writes Edwards, “when they are about to engage in any great and difficult work, will put on their strength, and will appear in all their majesty and power, that they may be successful. But when Christ was about to perform the great work of redeeming a lost world, the wisdom of God took an opposite method, and determined that he should be humbled and abased to a mean state, and appear in low circumstances.”

The Christmas carol composed by Carol Owens underscores this same truth. After asking the question, “How should a king come?” the melodic voices of men and women answer as follows:

“Even a child knows the answer of course, In a coach of gold with a pure white horse. In the beautiful city in the prime of the day, And the trumpets should cry and the crowds make way. And the flags fly high in the morning sun, And the people all cheer for the sovereign one. And everyone knows that’s the way that it’s done. That’s the way that a King should come.”

With repeated emphasis, the earthly pomp of kings is stressed. But near the end of the song, the Gospel emerges. […]

2014: Movies, Books, Games, and Good Listening

As another year nears its end, I thought it would be fun to toss out a few things that have been particularly memorable/enjoyable for me. Here I’m thinking more in terms of books and entertainment.  So without further ado:

Movies

• Edge of Tomorrow (Or, Live. Die. Repeat) was a total surprise hit for me. I hate to admit it, but I do like Tom Cruise as an actor; and in this sci-fi grab-your-popcorn action flick, he delivered an excellent performance. Check it out. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

• Interstellar? I’m sorry, but no. I was really looking forward to this movie, but it totally let me down. So if you’re going to insist on watching a show about outer space, go with Gravity. It is far more entertaining.

Books

• Speaking of movies, perhaps you’ve heard about the forthcoming release of Unbroken. I plan on checking it out. But look. If you haven’t read the book Unbroken, I need you to stop right here, open another window in Amazon and order it. Don’t think about it. Just do it. It is easily one of the best books you’ll ever read.

• I’m nearly finished reading […]

A Review of “The Bible Tells Me So” – Noel Weeks

Peter Enns continues to slide further and further.

I do not remember where I heard it, or when I heard it, but I distinctly recall an atheist saying, when asked about the perspective of some liberal theologian, “He’s an atheist. He just doesn’t know it yet.”

It would certainly be wrong to say that Peter Enns is an atheist. He isn’t. He still maintains that Jesus is Lord, at least in some sense. That being said, his understanding of scriptural authority is staunchly liberal- liberal to the point where the very bottom of everything has no foundation. The floor is gone.

If you would like to hear a recent exchange between Peter Enns and David Instone-Brewer (which can be frustrating on several levels), check out the following Unbelievable radio show:

Unbelievable? Has defending scripture made us unable to read it?

Now if you would like to read a good review of Peter Enns’ most recent book, I would encourage you to hop over to Reformation 21. Noel Weeks interacts in a very helpful way, critiquing the work in a level-headed manner.

For a taste, here is a quote:

“Basically, the work presents a fairly common understanding of the authors of the Bible as victims of […]

GenRef Podcast: Christian Apologetics with James Anderson

It was our pleasure to speak with Dr. James Anderson, Associate Professor of Theology and Philosophy at Reformed Theological Seminary. Specializing in religious epistemology and philosophical theology, Dr. Anderson brings to the table a wide array of insights into the subject of Christian apologetics.  Join us as we speak with him about defending the faith.

Left Behind Theology – A Critical Look

A young lady recently asked one of the authors here about the “Left Behind” phenomenon, and specifically the theology undergirding the perspective. She wanted some help understanding the viewpoint. Since we haven’t posted anything on the topic, it seemed good to go ahead and say a few things.

Now to be perfectly transparent, I haven’t read the Left Behind series, nor have I watched the movie. If the reviews over at IMDB or Rotten Tomatoes are any indication, no one in their right mind would consider doling out money to watch the show. One reviewer bemoaned it this way, “I am now relatively certain there is a Hell and it is a darkened theater with no doors showing Left Behind on a loop for eternity.”

Ouch!

But never mind the movie. What about the theology behind it?

While there are many variations and nuanced differences within this particular school of thought, the theological perspective motivating the ideas found in Left Behind originate with a viewpoint known as dispensationalism.

Much could be said about this. In fact, to really get a firm grasp on the position, as well as some of the more recent developments (known as Progressive Dispensationalism), it would require reading book length works. […]

The Unimaginable Excellencies of Eternity

The last paragraph in C.S. Lewis’ famous children’s series, The Chronicles of Narnia, contains a thought so heart-shatteringly wonderful, it causes the human mind to shut down… or skip… or erupt in worship soaked adoration.

The children in the story have just learned that they are dead. There was a railway accident. Aslan is with them though, and that is all they really want. With words of comfort, the Lion tells them, “The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.”

C.S. Lewis then concludes by writing the following,

“And as He spoke He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on […]

Christian Apologetics: A Preeminently Spirit Empowered Task

In part III of Religious Affections, section V, Jonathan Edwards writes with penetrating insight,

“Unless men may come to a reasonable, solid persuasion and conviction of the truth of the gospel, by the internal evidences of it, in the way that has been spoken, viz., by a sight of its glory; it is impossible that those who are illiterate, and unacquainted with history, should have any thorough and effectual conviction of it at all. They may without this, see a great deal of probability of it; it may be reasonable for them to give much credit to what learned men and historians tell them; and they may tell them so much, that it may look very probable and rational to them, that the Christian religion is true; and so much that they would be very unreasonable not to entertain this opinion. But to have a conviction, so clear, and evident, and assuring, as to be sufficient to induce them, with boldness to sell all, confidently and fearlessly to run the venture of the loss of all things, and of enduring the most exquisite and long continued torments, and to trample the world under foot, and count all things but […]

Dr. James Anderson – Audio and Articles

Dr. James Anderson, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary, has made some of his works available for free. He is an exquisite blend of Van Tillian thought and analytical philosophy, and I for one have immensely enjoyed not only his lectures, but his written articles. In this vein, allow me to point out a few for your consideration:

Audio

• Why Universities Can’t Do Without God – A look at why the atheistic worldview cannot account for moral norms and rational thought.

• Can I Trust the Bible over Evolutionary Science – A popular level discussion of faith and science.

• Calvinism and the Origin of Sin – A theologically robust and faithful handling of an admittedly tricky subject.

Articles

• If Knowledge Then God: The Epistemological Theistic Arguments of Plantinga and Van Til – A superb paper summarizing the arguments of each these two apologetic giants.

• The Lord of Non-Contradiction: An Argument for God From Logic (Greg Welty and James Anderson) – A philosophically heavy article, so be warned.

The Logic of Abortion ~ Or Why a Mother Can Kill Her Baby

Mara Clarke of the Abortion Support Network (a pro-abortionist organization) recently debated Scott Klusendorf on the Unbelievable radio show. When pressed as to why it is morally permissible for a pregnant woman to end the life of a human being in her womb, Mara Clarke said,

Mara: “At the end of the day, all I can go with is: women who are living outside of the womb absolutely have a right to- and I don’t say this term- I never say this term- bodily autonomy, right? They have a right to continue with or not continue with a pregnancy.”

Justin (the host of the show): “Ok. So that in a sense overrides any issues of whether we’re dealing with a human in the womb or not for you.”

Mara: “Yes.”

Justin: “The autonomy of a woman over her body trumps that- and that presumably is the distinction then we’re drawing between the toddler and the child in the womb. A toddler is separate to the woman at that point, obviously. There’s not a question of her having control of her body at that point. You’re dealing with a separate individual.”

Mara: “Yeah, we can send […]